No hol­i­day for busy com­mu­nity pa­trol

Matamata Chronicle - - Your Paper, Your Place - REXINE HAWES

While many or­gan­i­sa­tions are tak­ing a well earned break over Christ­mas and New Year, the com­mu­nity pa­trol re­mains hard at work.

Mata­mata Com­mu­nity Pa­trol chair Brian Hunter says apart from the few stat days from Christ­mas Day to New Year, the pa­trol was work­ing with po­lice and have con­tin­ued ex­tra pa­trols dur­ing the school hol­i­days.

‘‘Day­time pa­trols have been op­er­at­ing a few days a week through the school hol­i­days at re­quest of po­lice. They do have dif­fi­cul­ties with stu­dents on school hol­i­day and with an in­crease of tourists to Hob­biton, we drive out to Buck­lands Road too, just have a look around.’’

The Mata­mata Com­mu­nity Pa­trol’s job is to act as the eyes and ears of po­lice. They re­port any sus­pi­cious or ob­vi­ous crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, but never in­ter­vene in any way them­selves. They pa­trol up to a 10-12km ra­dius of Mata­mata in­clud­ing Wa­haroa, Wal­ton and Rich­mond Downs.

‘‘The pa­trol has been worth­while, and po­lice say they are very happy with the re­sults,’’ he says.

In pre­vi­ous months Hunter says crime had in­creased on Sun­day nights, but this had slowed down now. He says nearly ev­ery pa­trol has re­sulted in a re­port to po­lice or ve­hi­cle reg­is­tra­tion num­bers are recorded.

‘‘Of­ten we see win­dows open for peo­ple to gain easy ac­cess. If we see a large gath­er­ing of peo­ple or a party we just let the po­lice know it’s hap­pen­ing so if it es­ca­lates they can in­ter­vene.

‘‘When­ever we call po­lice, they re­spond min­utes.’’

The 30-strong pa­trol has been ac­tive through­out 2016 and Hunter says more peo­ple are al­ways wel­come to join. Vol­un­teers range from 20-year­sold and over.

Ide­ally he says they would like within three-to-five a team of 50 peo­ple.

Hunter says the pa­trol re­lies on do­na­tions from ser­vice groups, in­di­vid­u­als or busi­nesses and the com­mu­nity have been ex­tremely gen­er­ous.

On-go­ing costs in­clude the gen­eral op­er­at­ing and up­keep of the pa­trol ve­hi­cle which in­cludes pet- rol, reg­is­tra­tion, WOF and in­sur­ance. Hunter says it costs $330 per month just to run the pa­trol car.

They are also in need of a new cell­phone. Their phone is only used for mak­ing calls and Hunter says an ideal phone would be ba­sic, easy to use and hardy.

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